Friday, May 30, 2008
Don't forget to vote on the pictures!
Thanks for your prayers!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It is graduation time at the Allen Academy for Girls! Steve and Stephanie are proud to announce their graduates (complete with new haircuts!)
Kamryn Anne Allen has graduated from the 3rd grade. She is a "joy to have in class" (remember that comment on report cards? I got that one a lot! :)) She is a very creative thinker, loves to read, and can create an art project out of anything that you give her. She enjoyed studying the New Testament, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome this year in History. In Bible she learned about the time of the Judges up through Kings. In home economics, Kamryn has learned to make an incredible gluten-free pancake. Her creativity is always interesting as sometimes they have cocoa and sometimes sprinkles, and sometimes she just experiments with the recipe. I, as her teacher, am so glad that I will get to have her again in
Favorite Subject: Spelling
Favorite Book you/or we read: All of them (really, she loves to read and it is too hard to narrow)
Hardest thing to do in math: Percentages
Favorite Bible Story: The one where Jesus heals the little girl
Most hated character in History: Nero (He persecuted Christians)
Favorite after-school activity at LICS: Recorder
What you are most looking forward to about next school year: Doing more science
Bradyn Ashley Allen has graduated from the 1st grade. Bradyn is also a "joy to have in class" and loves to learn new things. She especially loves her math...(not really, but she is good at it). Bradyn excels in spelling and reading, and is the best at getting her work done fast so that she can go play with Julia. In home economics Bradyn would make Martha Stewart proud. She is an excellent organizer and sorter. She can make any messy bookshelf look GREAT!! Next year she will be in a Kindgerarten/2nd/4th grade split class with her sisters. And, yes, you guessed correctly, it is my privilege to teach this split class.
Favorite Subject: Handwriting
Hardest thing to do in Math: Multiplication
Coolest spelling word you learned: D-E-L-A-Y
Favorite Bible Verse: Do to others as you would want them to do to you.
Favorite book we read: Ballet Shoes
Favorite After School Activity at LICS: Arts and Crafts
What you are most looking forward to about next year: Cursive Handwriting
Julia Carol Allen has graduated from our very unstructured pre-school program. She ran this program herself and did an AMAZING job. Julia is a highly skilled puzzle doer, excellent painter and colorer, and she has a highly creative brain that enjoys playing with Playmobil, Little People, and ponies. It is always a joy to hear Julia singing (she composes her own music and lyrics) as she plays in the room next to us as we work. (She has provided many laughs!) Julia is a great kitchen-helper. She has a special place on the counter and if there is cooking going on, you can be sure to find her there. She has mastered the art of egg-cracking and is quite adept at making ice-cubes. She looks forward to being tall enough to do the dishes with her sisters. (This is true!) She looks forward to learning to read and write next year, and especially to having her oldest sister teach her Math.
Favorite thing to play during school: PlayMobile
Favorite Art project: Play-doh
Favorite outdoor activity: Bradyn
Favorite puzzle: Winnie the Pooh
Favorite thing to help with in the kitchen: Helping bake cookies
What you are most looking forward to about next year: Painting
Steve and I celebrate these three graduates and our hearts are bursting with love and admiration of them in all of their uniqueness. They have made an amazing transition into Zambia and have truly "fully-experienced" life here with enthusiasm and joy. We are very proud of them!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Last night Steve and I were "musing" a bit. The cause of our "musing" was that as I was preparing dinner, the power went out. I was making Thai green chicken curry. I had just started the rice and was starting the sauce when the power went off. After gathering my candles and lighting them so that I could see what I was doing, I asked Steve to go ask Lungu to start up the brazier (pronounced bray-zer, yes I have made the mistake of pronouncing it brah-zeer). I then continued with my preparations chopping my broccoli and cutting up my meat by candlelight. Soon, the coals were hot and I was able to finish my sauce and rice over the hot charcoal. As we were sitting on the porch cooking we got to talking. I said that I thought I was making progress because it didn't even phase me when the power went out. (We have really come to enjoy our candlelit dinners.) When we first started having our regular power outages it would really throw me for a loop when it would go out at dinner time. You see, we can't just have a PB&J sandwich with our gluten allergies. So, that means either cook over the brazier or have cornflakes....which we have also done quite a bit. Steve said, "I think coming to Africa is like our training for the marathon. You build up your endurance over time." I definitely agree with this statement. As I look back on the past 9 months, the first few months were definitely the hardest as far as adjusting and getting used to the differences in life here. Over time, the things that used to stress me out, just don't anymore. Praise the Lord! But, as we get ready to head back to the comfortable USA we are also wondering if it will be like taking time off in our marathon training. Meaning, if you take time off, you have to start all over again. The training that you did, that you worked so hard on, you have to do all over again.....we are praying that we won't lose too much of our progress over the next few months we have in the states.
We took our workers out for their first time at Kilimanjaro's Cafe. We all ate burgers and drank coke and got an ice cream afterwards. It was a special time for all of us as we learned a lot about their lives, about Zambian culture and what they think of our kids:) They have basically had front row seats into our lives the past 9 months and it hasn't always been pretty. When I asked them who was the biggest troublemaker, they in unison all said (well, I can't tell you in case she reads it, but it starts with the second letter of the alphabet and rhymes with aiden:) They all said that she is a big sweetheart as well, but she definitely is not a stranger at finding trouble! We laughed and shared good memories. It was just a great time together. Lungu ( the first one on the left) is getting married on Monday in a village. We learned a lot about how marriage works here, and we are not quite sure all of the details, but we do know that the groom is supposed to buy a pig and goat for the feast. So, for our wedding present, we bought the pig for a measly 70,000 kwacha! A great story and it made his day!
Today I gave my first final exam on my last day of my Bible Study Methods class. It was a good experience, and I really learned to appreciate what my professors over the years have done for me.
We said goodbye to the orphans at New Horizon that we have been working with. They have been a blessing to us and we are so appreciative of their willingness to love on us.
I said goodbye to the Mwale family. Though I will see Mark again briefly on Thursday, it was great to take a picture of their many kids. It was the first I think of their family (minus the three older brothers). Pastor Mwale has eight of their own kids and they have adopted six more orphans who needed a place to live... He lives what he preaches.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
So, I've got a buddy (in the white shirt and the bottom right corner) who has an amazing wife and a super cute kid, who has been a mentoree since 6th grade and then an intern and then took over my youth pastor job. We are best of buddies now with lots of memories and good times behind us. He is leaving Crossroads Bible Church youth pastor job and all his family and friends to go and serve in New Orleans with CRM ministries. Now, I love what this ministry is about: Planting churches in the needy areas, doing practical work to build relationships and lastly, training young men and women for a lifetime of missions. So, stopping there, I am proud of my brother and excited for their adventure. But then...
TODAY, I met a woman doctor at the orphanage that I spoke at this morning and she lives and works in New Orleans. I told her about my friend Matt and she was so excited. She loves the city and she said that more people are moving out then moving in. She said that 25 churches in her diocese alone are closing this year. She said there is still so much suicide and sickness due to the stress that was put on the city, even after three years. These things are not talked about but as a doctor she has seen and is seeing it all. So, it was confirmation beyond confirmation that the need is huge and you are indeed sent by God to make a difference in that hurting community. So, Matt and Amy and little Nolan, we send you with joy and pride and lots of love... We are proud of you, we love you and support you!!!
If you want to see their latest news update or want to give to a most worthy cause, check it out here!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
As for life here in Lusaka, where it has been 75-85 degrees EVERYDAY (and not just one day in Seattle where everyone freaks out:), and we are enjoying our outdoors... We realized that we will have the everlasting summer, going from summer in Bellingham to the September hot season in Africa back home in the summer in June... Not quite what we planned on, but we'll take it.
Some cool happenings as of late... Got an email from a friend who said that they felt led of the Lord to give some money to a pastor or something... Well, it just so happens that I was praying for that very thing, because Pastor Sakala who has planted a church has been really struggling financially and wants to have a job with flexibility so that he could continue pastoring. Well, the money that was given toward this pastor and his five children will enable him to start a hardware business. He was so grateful. I went in to his house to take a picture of his family. He and his five kids sleep in a two roomed house, probably 16x12, all cement. Like I have said once, I'll say it again, "It takes so little to help sooooooo much!" I am hoping to take a picture of his new shop sometime soon...
Many of you know that I have been heading up the AZ Pastor Resource Library. As of now, I have inputted over 800 books into this handy dandy library software program (it has this cool ISBN download feature which goes onto Amazon and grabs a picture and all the specs) and will get some help with the 200 or so more. We have split this these books into five areas around the city. We hope to add in years to come a computer center for Logos Bible Software and a Moody Theological Distance Software which can help people complete a degree online, lots of tapes and MP3's of sermons and more books! The pictures come from Lusaka Theological College where I taught today!!!
I taught the fourth of five four hour classes today. But what was really cool was that two of my students from Garden taught the last part of it and they far exceeded my effectiveness which is part of the strategy, training up Zambians to reach Zambians, to in essence work ourselves out of job! Tracy Singleton, the newest AZ missionary, also came and taught a part of the beginning.
One last thing, I had our last Pastors meeting in Garden on Thursday. I basically told them I wanted them to do the entire inductive study process as a group, as a test of sorts. I came for about 20 minutes and it was thrilling seeming them work and argue and figure out what was the right answer...
So, that is about it for now. I preach tomorrow at a church in Kanyama. We sell our car tomorrow. I teach the leaders of the AZ team how to upkeep the website. We will be having the Garden group over to our house for pizza and pop on Tuesday. We will be giving them some study bibles which had been donated by some friends of mine.
Thanks for your prayers for our family!!!
Monday, May 12, 2008
We had a nice Mother's Day over here in Zambia... They don't really celebrate this holiday, and a bunch of Mzungu's over here got caught off guard, but not us... The girls and their daddy headed down to Game (our version of Walmart) looking for just the perfect gift. We walked down endless aisles, not knowing what to get that would be perfect for our Perfect. Alas, we came to the candy/snack aisle and then it came back... The "it" I am referring to is that tradition for holidays that we would find at the dollar store, where it isn't the price behind the present, but the thought and meaning in the present. And so we went crazy. Daddy bought a "P.S. I love you" candy bar for obvious reasons. Bradyn got Oreos, Julia got Sour Cream and Onion Pringles and Kamryn bought pretzels. And then , to top it off, we got , from all of us, a whisk!!! Oh, yes, eat your heart out! It was fun, and Stephanie has been extra happy the past two days. She is an amazing mom and we look forward to adding to the mom -factor in a few more months.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Have a great day!
Thursday, May 08, 2008
I spoke at conference this morning, teaching, you guessed it, Inductive Study and Expository preaching. Why I keep teaching this over and over again is because I get to teach them how to study and preach, while studying and preaching through new passages that directly correlate to pastoring. It is like they discover what the scriptures say about being a pastor while they learn how to study and preach as a pastor. Today we did the verse from Col. 3:23-24 - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyway, today, due to some donations from people like ya'll, I was able to give out 150 concordances today and were they ever happy. I speak at this same location tommorrow and then in the afternoon speak at a place in Kalikiliki (cool name, huh?). On Saturday, I will be teaching at the Bible College. Thanks for your prayers!
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I found this article at this blog: I think you will find it a important read. Thanks for your support!
The Weakened Dollar and Missionaries
When I came back from Prague I meant to write about the drastic effect of the falling dollar on missionaries serving overseas. To give some perspective, the first time we went to Prague (November 2006) the exchange rate was 24 Czech crowns to the dollar. Now it’s about 15, which means the dollar is about 30% weaker than it was 18 months ago, which means everything costs about 30% more if you’re being paid in dollars.
Anyway, I now no longer need to write this because Sunday the Charlotte Observer beat me to it, profiling none other than my future boss Phil Davis, pastor of Faith Community Church in Prague. Read the article, and be sure to look at the pictures– the Davises are a good-looking bunch.
For those of us in the States, a few action items to think about:
- Pray (regularly!) for the dollar to regain its strength. This is affecting lots of missionaries all over the world, and they’d rather be focusing on ministry than trying to build their support back up.
- If you have missionaries you regularly support, consider trying to raise your monthly pledge to help with their added costs. Where could you trim from your budget to help them out? Think of it as a move of wartime efficiency to get the troops in the field what they need.
- If you’re not regularly supporting any missionaries, this would be a great time to start, as nearly all of them are feeling the crunch.
Our God is sovereign over all things, including currency exchange rates. Let’s pray that he will work quickly on behalf of his workers in the fields.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
"Congratulations, we have a baby!" Daka, our worker, said to me on the phone.
I asked if it was a boy or girl and he said, "Baby Boy!"
I asked about the name, and he didn't tell me. We found out later that they didn't have a name, yet.
The baby Daka was born at 23:40 (or 11:40 p.m.) in the dark by the light of eight candles that were purchased. Crazy.
We went to go see the baby at the hospital at 10 am just 10 hours after having the baby. We pictured us walking into the hospital room to see the baby. But, Daka stopped us outside the hospital and then said they were discharging her and we were going to give them a ride home:)
Sure enough, just 10 hours after having the baby, Daka's wife walks out, and Daka was holding the baby with a big smile on his face... Daka's wife wasn't so smiley.
We drove them home and took some pictures. It is cultural to keep the baby bundled up in many blankets, so the face picture was a good as we could get.
I also took a picture of what was happening behind the scenes, the hordes of kids that were gathering around watching us take pictures of the baby. It is not very often that Mzungu blond girls are walking in the heart of the compound:)
Lastly, as we were saying goodbye, Daka pulled me aside and asked if he could borrow 50,000 kwacha for mealie (the corn staple food). He said, "I used my 50 that I would by mealie to pay for the hospital visit." I am not sure if 50,000 kwacha (or $13) is all it cost to have a baby, but I wouldn't be surprised.
A fun cultural experience complete with a happy ending!
Monday, May 05, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Talk about gaining some perspective on life...
Friday, May 02, 2008
For those of you who have been waiting for the best of the best of blog posts, this is it! This past Sunday, Steve Allen, who is another missionary on our team called me with a request. His wife Stephanie had been up all night sick and needed rest. He was scheduled to preach that morning, but thought it would be better to stay at home with her and the children. So, whom did he think of as a last minute stand-in? You guessed it, little ole me. I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep, or maybe someone had slipped something into his coffee when he wasn’t looking, but he requested that I fill in for him.
For those of you who don’t remember my blog post about 2 weeks ago, let me refresh your memory. I’ve only preached one sermon and that was 2 weeks ago. This of course was the first excuse I threw Steve's way, but he calmly reminded me that this was a different church. So, it was probably ok to use the same sermon. Then I threw out another excuse of not having a car to drive, which he countered with letting me drive his cruiser. As he told me later, God had a plan for my life and he (Steve) was telling me what it was… So, hesitantly, I accepted and oh what a blessing it was.
On the way there, I stopped to pick up Mark Mwale, a pastor of a church here in Lusaka. He had arranged for Steve to preach at the village and was responsible for making sure I showed up at the right place. After picking he, his son and wife up, we headed north towards a village on the outskirts of Lusaka. After driving for about 20 minutes, we turned off of the highway onto an unkempt dirt road and then preceded about 1/2 a mile out into the “Bush.”
The church was a small mud brick structure with a thatch roof. One of the elders was waiting outside to greet us and welcomed us as we drove in. When we got out of the car, we were immediately ushered into the church. Inside, were pews, which were also made out of the same mud brick that was used to construct the church. About every 10 feet, there were wooden planks stretching from dirt floor to thatch roof ceiling. Up at the front of the church, there was a stage, which acted as a pulpit. This is where we sat before & during the service.
As we waited for the service to begin, I just didn't think that many people would show up. I envisioned preaching to an audience of about five. As the time neared 10:30, though, I was proven wrong. Villagers began flowing into this small church building, so much that by the time the service started, there were a little over 70 in attendance.
The service started with praise and worship, which truly was a blessing to me. Those in attendance worshiped in their native tongues, Bemba and Nyanja. And they worshipped with fervor. They sang, danced, and shouted their praises to God. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think of how the Bible depicts the scene in Revelations when God will be worshipped by every tribe, language, people & nation.
After worship, the pastor introduced me to the congregation and invited me up to preach. The sermon that I preached was no different from the first sermon I preached two weeks prior, but the results were... I preached on 1 John 1:5-7 and shared about how God desires for us to walk in the light. I shared how God desires that we live holy and upright lives, but that even when we make mistakes, we should seek to allow God’s light to expose our sins instead of us trying to cover them up.
At the end of the sermon, we had a time of prayer. I challenged them to ask the Lord to examine their hearts and reveal to them areas where they had fallen short in their relationship with the Him. As I sat there praying for myself, the Spirit began to move to the extent that one of the ladies in attendance just began to wail. As she cried out to God, others also began to audibly pray. It was truly a blessing to see the Lord at work, even through the message given by a sinner like me.
After the time of prayer, I finished the rest of the sermon and then we celebrated the renewing power of the Cross through more worship. It was truly an experience I will never forget.
It gets even better. After the last worship songs were sung, the worship leader had me come up front along with Pastor Mwale. He presented us with gifts that were brought to the church by the villagers in attendance. As we stood up front, person after person came in through the side door of the church bringing food from his or her own harvest. They brought a plethora of assorted fruits and vegetables (African squash, Chinese cabbage, potatoes and bananas). The shocker was in the last gift brought in, a GOAT! Yeap, a real live goat! In all my life, I never thought I would be given a goat as a gift for sharing God’s word.
As we prepared to leave, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the generosity of these villagers. These men and women, who struggle for daily existence, went out of their way to welcome me and provide me with gifts, which to them were a great sacrifice. And they did it with Joy! It was so humbling being in fellowship with them this day and truly blessed my soul to the core!
I can't tell you what a delight it is to spend time with the pastors at Chaisa. The last time I was there was, I think, October or November. I wrote about this experience in my blog and a few people felt led by the Lord to give money to purchase Bibles. Well, after months of trying to get the money here, getting a check from Action Zambia, and five months waiting for the order to be delivered from South Africa, they have just finally arrived. (Well, actually the concordances were stuck at the airport, so we will give them out next week!) But, I can't describe how appreciative or desperate they were for the Bibles. It was something to behold.
There were over 100 pastors and leaders who spent all day listening as we reviewed inductive bible study and then taught them how to do expository preaching. The most exciting part of the day for me, though, was watching Pastor Peter Zulu do a bulk of the teaching. At one point, when the power went down, and I couldn't use the computer, I asked him to explain a part of the process which I knew he understood. He spoke for about 45 minutes and it was really great to watch him speak with confidence and authority. He will do an entire conference next week and I will be his assistant:)
Thursday, May 01, 2008
In the afternoon, I met with my pastor's group! A good time was had by all as we are winding down and covering lots of different stuff. One of the pastors, Peter Zulu(Peter is the one in the middle with the white shirt!) went last week to the village to teach, get this, Inductive Bible Study. Yes, he taught at a conference for 80 pastors how to do inductive study. It was really cool to see a pastor not only understanding what he is learning from me, but then able to pass it on to other pastors. Isn't that great? What an encouragement. Next week, I have a conference in Kalikliki and I am going to let him and his brother do the whole thing while I smile and thank God for the gift of cool pastors like these guys to work with.